2017 Efforts to Increase Grassroots Support for Increased Tax Exemption for Seniors

From: Paul Schwartz, State Legislation Committee Chair

Last year Governor Hogan proposed increasing the tax exemption for seniors over the age of 65 from $1,000 to $5,000 over a 4-year period. The loss of revenue was covered in the Governor’s budget.

There was significant support for the proposal, but for a variety of reasons the bill was not adopted. The SLC has been and will continue to lobby for this bill in the upcoming 2017 legislative session. We have met with the Governor’s staff and key legislators. We are hopeful that this bill will again be part of the Governor’s program to help seniors.

By utilizing funds contributed to the MD-PAC we will continue attending fundraisers, which provide us with access to key legislators who we hope we can convince to support bills that provide relief to seniors and thus help the entire Maryland economy.

Based upon conversations with legislators and others in the political arena, we have come to the realization that one aspect of our lobbying that is failing is our ability to convince legislators that these goals are important to our membership and that our membership will consider the actions of their legislators on these bills when they go to vote (and remember our members do go out and vote). A first major step in ensuring that our membership is active is to educate them so that they are aware of what their legislators are doing in Annapolis. To accomplish this we will provide information on a monthly basis for inclusion in each Chapter’s Newsletter.

The following actions are required to accomplish this:

  1. All Chapters need to ensure that their Newsletter is sent to all of the legislative representatives that are appropriate to the legislative districts that cover their membership.
  2. The State Legislative Committee will on a monthly basis provide an article for the chapters newsletter that tells them what we have done, who we have seen, who is supporting us, and who is not. We will also provide suggestions as appropriate for any particular chapter based upon that chapter’s legislators. These articles should be published in the chapter newsletter.
  3. We also encourage local chapters to take action to meet with their legislators and report to the SLC any progress or concerns they may have.
  4. Each Chapter President should immediately notify the SLC who in their chapter will be responsible for this activity and provide an e-mail address for that individual.

Together we can accomplish our goals. Thank you for your support and cooperation.

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